The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe tells the story of Dita Kraus, a young girl imprisoned in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. She bravely takes on the role of Librarian for the family camp’s school, transporting books between teachers and concealing them from the SS. The book explores her emotional journey and how she remains strong during such a dark and trying time. The Librarian of Auschwitz is based upon the real-life experiences of Dita Kraus and other characters in the novel.
This book provides such a fascinating perspective. I have read many books about the Holocaust, but this is the first I have read which describes the family camps in detail. It is so important for us to understand the Holocaust as well as the evils and acts of courage which occured. This book pinpoints the bravery of an incredible girl who keeps reading alive during a time of oppression and fear.
The author clearly conducted extensive research on the topic as the historical details were spot on with what I have learned in history classes. He does a great job describing the evil nature of Dr. Mengele and the dire conditions within the camp. I highly recommend reading the Postscript as it provides more information on the history related to the book. Iturbe lists his sources in the back of the novel, a perfect reference point if you want to learn more about the history which inspired the book.
I also adored the cover design! I feel like it perfectly depicted the beauty that books brought to the children in Auschwitz.
The book was a fascinating read, but there were a few things I noticed that bothered me. Sometimes it read almost like a textbook as historical pieces seemed thrown into the dialogue. I understand the importance of providing adequate background information, but the way it was included felt forced and could have been a bit more natural.
At some points, I became confused because there are some time jumps and perspective changes. The way Antonio Iturbe explores other people in the camp is impeccable, but the shifting storylines sometimes had me a little lost.
Overall, I recommend this book to everyone who can get a copy. It is certainly a difficult read (as all books about the Holocaust are), but it is also an important one. It shows how culture and beauty can survive despite oppression, and it depicts the power of resistance and preserving the written word.
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